Duce Staley

Fritz Pollard Alliance Recommends HC Candidates

Every year, the Fritz Pollard Alliance releases a list of recommended minority head coaching candidates. This year’s edition is nearly double in size and features the likes of Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores and Cowboys defensive backs coach/defensive passing game coordinator Kris Richard, as Mike Jones of USA Today writes. 

Here’s the complete list of suggested candidates:

  • Keith Armstrong (Falcons special teams coordinator)
  • Teryl Austin (Former Bengals defensive coordinator)
  • Eric Bieniemy (Chiefs offensive coordinator)
  • Jim Caldwell (former Lions and Colts head coach)
  • George Edwards (Vikings defensive coordinator)
  • Brian Flores (Patriots linebackers coach)
  • Leslie Frazier (Bills defensive coordinator)
  • Raheem Morris (Falcons assistant head coach/wide receivers coach)
  • Hue Jackson (special assistant to the head coach of the Bengals; former Browns head coach)
  • Kris Richard (Cowboys defensive backs coach/defensive passing game coordinator)
  • Duce Staley (Eagles assistant head coach/running backs coach)

Flores, the de facto defensive coordinator of the Patriots, figures to be a hot coaching candidate this year. The same goes for Bieniemy, who is helping to guide one of the league’s most dangerous offenses.

Others on this list, such as Jackson and Austin, seem unlikely to garner real consideration for head coaching positions this offseason. The Browns turned the corner after dumping Jackson and appointing Gregg Williams as the team’s interim head coach, which isn’t a great endorsement for the offensive guru. Meanwhile, the Bengals hired Austin in January but fired him earlier this month as his defense was one of the lowest ranked in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Interviewed Duce Staley For OC Job?

Despite being an Eagles coach for the past seven seasons, Duce Staley did not receive the promotion he sought this offseason. Philadelphia opted to name Mike Groh as Frank Reich‘s offensive coordinator replacement after interviewing both Groh and Staley.

However, Staley may well have participated in another key interview this offseason. The Eagles’ running backs coach met with the Giants about their offensive coordinator position, Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

This is the first report of Staley interviewing for that role, one Pat Shurmur initially sought Vikings QBs coach Kevin Stefanski for but was denied permission. Staley was mentioned as a candidate for Big Blue’s OC position earlier this offseason prior to the job going to former Panthers OC Mike Shula. Nevertheless, he’s back on as RBs coach, now with an assistant head coach title, for the defending Super Bowl champions. This will be his sixth season in that role.

I’m not worried about being a coordinator. I’m worried about being able to be out there and coach for another Super Bowl,” Staley said, via Hayes, changing his tune slightly from last year around this time. “That’s where I’m at right now. Everything else will handle itself.”

Hayes notes Staley wants to be a head coach and knows the OC route would be the easiest way for him to accomplish that goal, and the 43-year-old assistant did not dismiss a possible interest in going the college route to help get there.

But for now, the former Eagles running back is hoping his work leading their current backs will speak for itself and potentially land him a higher-profile job in the near future.

Crazy league. Crazy situations,” Staley said. “You talk about being at the right place at the right time. Sometimes things are slotted, and they may not be slotted for you. Sometimes something may just pop up on you.

Look at Anthony Lynn. Boom, next thing you know, head coach.”

Also an NFL running back in the ’90s, Lynn saw Greg Roman‘s ouster as Bills OC in 2016 lead to a promotion. And a few months later, the Chargers hired him as their head coach. A running backs coach since 2003, Lynn has several years of additional coaching experience compared to Staley. But with the Eagles losing both Reich and John DeFilippo this offseason, Staley could have a smoother path to an OC gig elsewhere if Philly’s offense continues to thrive.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC East Notes: Eagles, Jeffery, Cousins

Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery had surgery on Wednesday morning to fix a torn rotator cuff, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Jeffery first suffered the injury in training camp and played through the pain all the way to a Super Bowl championship.

Jeffery’s toughness is commendable, but rotator cuff tears come in various degrees and his wasn’t of the most severe variety. By getting the surgery in February, the receiver should be ready well in advance of training camp.

Last offseason, the Eagles signed Jeffery to a one-year prove-it deal when the open market didn’t yield the kind of contract offers he wanted. The contract paid big dividends for both sides. The Eagles saw Jeffery catch 57 passes for 789 yards and nine touchdowns during the regular season. Jeffery, meanwhile, was rewarded with a fat four-year, $52MM extension in December.

Here’s more from the NFC East:

Eagles To Interview Duce Staley, Mike Groh For OC

The Eagles will interview running backs coach Duce Staley and wide receivers coach Mike Groh for their offensive coordinator vacancy today, according to Tim McManus of ESPN.com (Twitter links), who adds there are no “immediate plans” to meet with any other candidates.Duce Staley

Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson is seeking to replace Frank Reich, who was named head coach of the Colts last week. Also missing from the Eagles’ 2018 staff is former quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, who recently became the Vikings’ new offensive coordinator. Pederson calls the offensive plays for the Eagles, but he’s presumably interested in keeping some level of continuity for an offense that ranked eighth in DVOA a season ago.

Staley, who spent seven years of his playing career with the Eagles, has led the club’s running backs room since 2013. He’d also been mentioned as a strong candidate to join Pat Shurmur as the Giants’ new offensive coordiantor, but Philadelphia reportedly had no interest in letting Staley leave for a division rival.

Groh, meanwhile, has much spent much of his career in the collegiate ranks, but worked with the Bears and Rams from 2013-16 before joining the Eagles in advance of the 2017 campaign. The son of former NFL head coach Al Groh, Mike Groh helped former first-round pick Nelson Agholor break out last season.

Reports have indicated the Eagles may go without a formal offensive coordinator in 2018, and Adam Caplan of SiriusXM tweets Philadelphia could conceivably promote Staley to run game coordinator and Groh to pass game coordinator, allowing the two coaches to tag-team the OC role while Pederson calls plays on game day.

Eagles May Not Hire Offensive Coordinator

Even with the departures of offensive coordinator Frank Reich and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, the Eagles aren’t immediately looking to bring in a new offensive coordinator, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter). Rapoport points to running backs coach Duce Staley and wide receivers coach Mike Groh taking bigger roles within the team’s offense. Head coach Doug Pederson is expected to continue to work as the team’s play-caller.

Oct 26, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Eagles 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It didn’t take long for the Eagles’ coaching staff to break apart following their Super Bowl LII win over the Patriots. Reich was named the Colts’ head coach Sunday after Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels backed out from the position and DeFilippo joined Mike Zimmer‘s staff with the Vikings as an offensive coordinator. Reich and DeFilippo helped orchestrate the Eagles’ playoff run with backup Nick Foles under center, including 538 total yards of offense in the Super Bowl victory. It remains to be seen whether Carson Wentz will be able to resume his role as the team’s starting quarterback to open the regular season after tearing his ACL in Week 14.

Reich served two seasons as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator and DeFilippo served two years as the team’s quarterbacks coach.

Staley has spent the last five seasons as the Eagles’ running backs coach and worked the previous two years as a special teams quality control assistant. With a backfield committee that featured LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement, along with Wendell Smallwood at times, the Eagles ranked third in the NFL at 132.2 yards per game on the ground last season. The team was also without Darren Sproles for most of the year, who suffered a torn ACL in Week 3.

Last year marked Groh’s first season with the Eagles following stints as a wide receivers coach for the Bears (2013-15) and Rams (2016). His father, Al, was the head coach of the Jets in 2000. Rapoport also notes that with the Eagles’ reported decision to hold off on hiring an offensive coordinator, all the offensive and defensive coordinator positions around the league look to be filled.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Frank Reich Favorite For Colts’ HC Job

Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich has emerged as the favorite to become the Colts’ next head coach, as Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com report. The two sides still have to work out contractual details, but Indianapolis wants to bring Reich aboard.

Frank Reich (Vertical)

The Colts, of course, were left at the altar when their previous top choice, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, spurned Indy’s offer at the eleventh hour. After the McDaniels debacle, the Colts interviewed Reich, Bills DC Leslie Frazier, and Saints tight ends coach Dan Campbell. In all, the team has interviewed eight candidates for the position, several of whom accepted head coaching jobs elsewhere before the Colts’ “second search” commenced.

Reich was a hot name at the beginning of this year’s coaching cycle, which makes sense considering how effective the Eagles’ offense was in 2017. However, over time, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo wound up garnering more attention from teams with HC vacancies thanks to his role in Carson Wentz‘s development (DeFilippo, of course, wound up taking the Vikings’ offensive coordinator position). Reich’s candidacy may also have been hurt by the fact that Doug Pederson is the play-caller in Philadelphia.

Reich, a former third-round pick from the University of Maryland, was an NFL quarterback for 13 seasons, though he started only 20 games during that time (posting a 5-15 record in the process). His playing career ended in 1998, and his coaching career began in 2006 as an intern with the Colts. He eventually moved up Indianapolis’ coaching ranks and served as the team’s WRs coach in 2011. He served in the same capacity with the Cardinals in 2012 and worked as the Chargers’ quarterbacks coach in 2013 before being named the Bolts’ OC in 2014. He worked in that role for two seasons before becoming the Eagles’ OC in 2016.

Speaking of the Eagles, this leaves the Super Bowl champs in a bit of a lurch. They are on the verge of losing two well-respected offensive coaches in Reich and DeFilippo, which means that current running backs coach Duce Staley could be in line to become the team’s new OC. Staley was also rumored to be the Giants’ current top choice for OC, so Big Blue will be left scrambling if Philadelphia does not let Staley get away.

In the end, the Colts may well get a Super Bowl LII OC, just not the one they expected. However, as Schefter and Mortensen note, neither GM Chris Ballard nor the team had any comment Sunday about this latest development. Given what Indianapolis just went through with McDaniels, no announcement will be made until after a contract is fully executed with a new coach, a source said.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

New York Notes: Staley, Jets, Anderson, Bills

Aside from facing off in three playoff games in a seven-season stretch from 1993-2000, the Giants and Vikings can’t exactly be classified as rivals. Well, the teams may have some animosity for a bit. The Vikings denied Kevin Stefanski a chance to interview for the Giants’ OC position, and Minnesota’s QBs coach being the previous favorite for that job could make matters difficult for Pat Shurmur.

The Vikings complicated this search further by hiring Eagles QBs coach John DeFilippo to succeed Shurmur as Minnesota’s OC, bypassing Stefanski and poaching a coach off Philadelphia’s staff.

This is relevant because Duce Staley remains under contract with the Eagles, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com reports. Staley, Philly’s RBs coach, is said to be viewed as the Giants’ next choice for the OC role. But with Frank Reich in contention to become the Colts’ head coach, the Eagles could well deny their NFC East rivals permission to speak with Staley. This would keep the 42-year-old assistant in Philly in an attempt to foster some continuity in the event Reich leaves. This chain of events unfolding would make Staley a logical candidate to be the next Eagles OC.

The Giants have not yet requested permission to speak with Staley, but if the Eagles were to block the move, Darrell Bevell and Harold Goodwin may be the next coaches in line. Both are coaching free agents. Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv gives an edge to Bevell in the event Staley stays in Pennsylvania. Complicating this further, Bevell has been mentioned as a possible Colts OC.

Here’s the latest out of the Big Apple:

  • The Jets not landing Kirk Cousins could give Josh McCown another chance, with Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News writing a McCown/No. 6 overall pick solution would be the best bet at a Cousins contingency plan. A Nick Foles trade would not be as likely, per Mehta, who would be “stunned” if the Jets offered the Eagles one of their two second-round picks for the Super Bowl MVP. With Carson Wentz not a lock to be ready by Week 1, the Eagles would be unlikely to unload Foles for a third-rounder given his current stock and potential importance to a title defense.
  • Mehta adds the Jets are not planning to cut Robby Anderson because of his recent arrest. However, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes no extension offer should be expected anytime soon. Gang Green’s leading receiver in 2017, Anderson will be an RFA after next season. However, the January arrest produced three felony charges. And the 24-year-old wide receiver has a history of encountering police. Cimini reports he has 10 traffic violations on his record since 2014, all coming in Florida. His 941-yard season notwithstanding, Anderson may be on thin ice.
  • Both Jermaine Kearse and Quincy Enunwa are due to be UFAs after 2018, and the Jets have some of the most cap space in the league. Cimini would be surprised if the Jets used a sizable chunk of that space to outbid the competition for Jarvis Landry. Instead, he envisions a realistic pursuit of Allen Robinson, noting that since his ACL tear occurred in September, the 24-year-old Jaguars receiver would be a better bet as a long-term investment that had the injury taken place later in the season. If the Jets did land Robinson, Cimini writes the team will likely look to trade Kearse.
  • Two Alabama assistants will be part of Sean McDermott‘s second Bills staff. William Vlachos and Shea Tierney will make their way from Tuscaloosa, Ala., to Buffalo to become Bills offensive assistants, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com tweets. These two will follow Brian Daboll, the Bills’ new OC, in making this move.
  • While John Butler was hired to replace secondary coach Gill Byrd, the Bills have shifted assistant DBs coach Bobby Babich‘s title to safeties coach, Rodak notes (on Twitter). Rodak expects Butler to focus more on corners this year.

Latest On Giants’ Offensive Coordinator Vacancy

Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski is the Giants’ top target for their offensive coordinator vacancy, a source tells Alex Marvez of The Sporting News. Trouble is, the Vikings will not allow him to walk unless they are able to lure quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo away from the Eagles. If the Vikings block the Giants from hiring Stefanski, they’ll likely turn to Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley, who Marvez characterizes as “the frontrunner” for New York’s OC vacancy. Kevin Stefanski (vertical)

DeFilippo could come off the table for the Vikings completely if he is promoted to the Eagles’ own OC job. The Eagles already have Frank Reich in that role, but Reich is up for the Colts’ head coaching position and could be moving on. Apparently, that’s the outcome the Eagles are rooting for – Philly would reportedly like to move DeFilippo into Reich’s position, but they’re not about to fire Reich days after the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory.

In an indirect way, Josh McDaniels flaking on the Colts could cost the Giants their top choice for OC.

Coaching Rumors: Giants, Texans, Chiefs

New Giants head coach Pat Shurmur will call his own offensive plays in New York but still plans to hire an offensive coordinator, and Vikings quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski is a “strong candidate” for the position, sources tell Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. Stefanski, of course, worked under Shurmur in Minnesota, and is now a candidate to take over Shurmur’s old role with the Vikings (where he’d presumably get the opportunity to call games). Minnesota, however, is also considering former Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell and Texans quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan for its coordinator job, so if Stefanski isn’t promoted, he could conceivably bolt for New York. Meanwhile, Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley is a “name to watch” for the Giants’ OC position, while ex-Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin could also “be in the mix,” per Vacchiano.

Here’s more on the 2018 coaching carousel:

  • Former Raiders and Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano will join the Texans as a linebackers coach, reports Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Specifically, Pagano is now a senior defensive assistant who will coach outside linebackers, while Bobby King — already on Houston’s staff — will coach inside ‘backers, per Mark Berman of FOX 26 (Twitter link). Pagano, the brother of former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, spent five years as the Chargers’ DC before landing with the Raiders in 2017. When Oakland fired Ken Norton Jr. midway through last season, Pagano stepped in as the club’s defensive coordinator.
  • The Chiefs will promote offensive quality coach Mike Kafka to quarterbacks coach, according to Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star. Kafka, 30, originally entered the league as a 2010 fourth-round of Andy Reid‘s Eagles and went to play for six other clubs before hanging up his cleats. He coached at Northwestern (his alma mater) before joining Kansas City’s staff in 2017. Reid’s coaching tree is obviously impressive, and the past two men to serve as quarterbacks coach under his employ — Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy — are now head coaches with the Eagles and Bears, respectively.
  • The Titans also have a new quarterbacks coach: former Texans offensive assistant Pat O’Hara, tweets John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, who adds ex-Texans defensive assistant Shane Bowen is now Tennessee’s outside linebackers coach. O’Hara interviewed for the Bears’ quarterbacks coach job earlier this year, but Chicago ended up retaining Dave Ragone for the role. Meanwhile, new Titans assistant coach Kerry Coombs will indeed lead defensive backs in Tennessee, meaning he’ll coach the same position group that he did at Ohio State, tweets Paul Kuharsky of PaulKuharsky.com. Titans head coach Mike Vrabel offered incumbent secondary coach Deshea Townsend a job as Coombs’ assistant (read: a demotion), but Townsend will instead leave the club.
  • The Panthers have hired Air Force defensive coordinator Steve Russ as their new linebackers coach, per Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. Russ will replace Al Holcomb, who followed Steve Wilks to Arizona earlier this week to become the Cardinals’ new defensive coordinator. Although he enjoyed a four-year pro career, the 45-year-old Russ has never coached at the NFL level. He’s been at Air Force since 2012, and previously spent time at Syracuse, Wake Forest, and Ohio. Carolina has also added former Seahawks assistant special teams coach Heath Farwell for the same role, reports Omar Ruiz of NFL.com (Twitter link).

NFC East Notes: Eagles, Staley, Cowboys

Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley enjoys his job, but he also feels that he is ready to get a chance to be an offensive coordinator somewhere. “Yeah, definitely,” Staley told CSNPhilly.com’s Reuben Frank.

You never know how that works for you. I do know that you wait on those opportunities and hopefully those chances will come. If not, I love what I’m doing. Can’t say anything bad about what I’m doing. I love it. That’s when you know it’s not a job…I live vicariously through my players, still, to this day. I catch them out there running and making moves and I catch my knees shaking a little bit, I’m making the move with them. You can’t replace that feeling.”

Staley started out on Andy Reid‘s staff and was promoted to RB coach under Chip Kelly. He kept that job under Doug Pederson, making him the only coach to be a part of all three coaching regimes in Philly. Since Staley became the Eagles’ running backs coach in 2013, the Eagles have posted the fifth-most rushing yards in the NFL (8,114). Staley certainly has a strong resume to work with if he gets calls for OC jobs next offseason.

More from the NFC East:

  • If Dak Prescott were to suffer an injury that keeps him out of action for a serious stretch of time, the Cowboys could be motivated to go shopping for a quarterback, Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News writes. Cowboys coaches continue to sing the praises of Kellen Moore, saying that they have confidence in his football IQ and ability to lead the team. However, he has played in just three games as he enters his sixth season in the league. If the Cowboys have to forge on without Prescott for some reason, they may want to go for a more dynamic quarterback with more on-field experience.
  • More from Hairopoulos, who wonders if Alfred Morris‘ roster spot with the Cowboys may actually be in jeopardy. Morris, of course, offers serious veteran talent behind Ezekiel Elliott and Darren McFadden, but his inability to really contribute on special teams can hurt him. Earlier in the offseason, exec Stephen Jones said that “in a perfect world,” your third running back would be helping out in the third facet of the game. So far, we’ve heard positive talk about undrafted free agent Jahad Thomas and he could theoretically wind up as the team’s No. 3 running back. Then again, if Elliott winds up getting suspended by the the league office, the Cowboys may not be willing to lose a runner of Morris’ caliber.
  • One surprising factor could steer Kirk Cousins towards staying with the Redskins long term.
  • The Giants are not prioritizing a new deal for star Odell Beckham Jr.